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DavkaWriter Platinum

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DavkaWriter Platinum

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DavkaWriter Platinum
(a.k.a., DavkaWriter 6)
The Essential Hebrew-English Word Processor
From Davka Corporation

Also available: DavkaWriter 7

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - August 14, 2002

Trying to write in Hebrew, on a non-Hebrew Windows PC, can be a lot like pulling teeth - only harder! Sure there are lots of programs that you can use, but you need one for email, one for documents, and the like, and if you try to send these 'Hebrew' documents to someone else, often they can not read them unless they have the identical program. Plus, many of these programs only work in Hebrew, which can be a problem if you want to create a document that combines Hebrew and English text. Ok, so you already know all of this - but what are you to do???

A simple solution is to get yourself a copy of DavkaWriter Platinum, Davka Corporation's new Hebrew/English Word Processing program. This dynamic program is a dream come true. It is a complete word processing program that works equally well in Hebrew or English, plus it allows you to easy integrate both languages, and graphics, into the same document. In all regards, this is a fully functioning word processing program. It offers 48 Hebrew fonts, has a built in Hebrew and English spell checkers, plus Hebrew/English, English/Hebrew dictionaries. As with most word processing programs, you can also change not only the fonts, but also their colors. You can also change the back color of your documents, as well as adding graphical elements such as boarders. You can also add tables, text boxes, footnotes, and headers to your documents. This program also ships with about 250 photos and clip art images that can be easily imported into your documents.

DavkaViewer

One problem with many Hebrew/English word processing programs is that in many cases other people cannot read your documents unless they have the same program on their computer. Davka has an easy fix for this problem, called the DavkaViewer. This free program allows anyone to easily open and read any document or file written with DavkaWriter. They can also print or copy documents opened with DavkaViewer. If you find that you are trying to send documents to someone who does not have a program that can read a DavkaWriter program, you can send them information on where they can download the DavkaViewer, or you can email it to them yourself. You can find more information about the DavkaViewer program in the DavkaViewer's user manual which is accessed via the help button in the programs tool bar, or online at: www.davkawriter.com.

Hebrew, English, and Yiddish

Composing 'bilingual' documents in DavkaWriter Platinum is a snap. You can switch back and forth between Hebrew and English with the click of a button. You can also easily switch back and forth from writing from the right or left - even within the same document. When you switch from one language to another, a window will pop up asking if you want to change the direction that you are writing in. You then have the option of changing directions, or staying the way you are. You can also do this manually by simply hitting the arrow in the style bar that points in the direction you want to type.

In addition to easily switching back and forth between Hebrew and English, Davka Writer also offers full Yiddish support of Yiddish-Specific Hebrew characters, including YIVO and Old Yiddish characters.

Nikud (Vowels) and Trop (Cantillation Accents)

When writing in Hebrew, the DavkaWriter Platinum allows you to easily add Nikud and Trop as you write. You can also go back and modify text to add nikud or trop. I found that typing in nikud with DavkaWriter Platinum to be a breeze. If you want to add nikud, all you have to do is type the letter you want the nikud to appear under, and then simply press the key (on the Hebrew keyboard) corresponding to the nikud you want, and it will be placed properly. If you don't like how the nikud or trop is placed, you can reposition it yourself using the Intelli-Accent tool that is incorporated into the program.

Keyboard

DavkaWriter Platinum has a variety of keyboard options. When typing in Hebrew you can use a standard Hebrew keyboard layout, or you can specify that you want to use a phonetic keyboard that places the Hebrew letters of their English sounding equivalents. This program also ships with a page of stickers filled with the letters and vowels of the Hebrew alphabet. You can place these stickers on the correct keys on your keyboard to help you learn the Hebrew keyboard.

You can also set the DavkaWriter Platinum so that you have an onscreen keyboard. This keyboard is activated by clicking the word keyboard in the view menu. If you are working in English, the keyboard will be in English, and if you are working in Hebrew it will be in Hebrew. When you type using your physical keyboard, the keys on the onscreen keyboard will be depressed. More importantly, you can also type with this onscreen keyboard by clicking on the letters you want to type. This can be very handy when you are just typing a word or two in the opposite language than the one you are writing your document in, and you are not yet familiar with the layout of the alternative keyboard.

Built in Translator

In addition to containing a built in spell checker and dictionaries, DavkaWriter Platinum also contains a built in word translator that can translate a word from Hebrew to English or from English to Hebrew. Rather than simply offering a verbatim translation, this program offers you a variety of choices so that you can pick the translation that best fits what you are writing. For example, when translating the verb lamed (lamed-mem-dalet) the translator will offer the following information in English, along with the Hebrew spelling each, just as you would find in a dictionary entry: Getting this translation is a matter of as little as one click. Next to the spell check button in the tool bar, there is also a translator button. All you have to do is highlight the word you want translated, Hebrew or English, and then simply click the translator button. Once the translations are displayed, you also have the option of inserting all or part of this translation into the text you are writing. The translation function can also be accessed via the spell checker and via the tools menu, or by pressing Shift + F7.

The Tanach and Mishnayot

Included with the DavkaWriter Platinum is the complete text of the Tanach and the Mishnah, in vowelized Hebrew. In addition to simply reading the texts, you can also import sections into your documents. When importing sections, you can do so with or without nikud and trop.

The DavkaWriter Forum

In addition to offering general product support, the Davka Corporation also hosts a the DavkaWriter forum on their website at www.davkawriter.com/forum.html. This forum gives DavkaWriter users an opportunity to post questions, and to have them answered. It also serves as an opportunity for DavkaWriter users to share tips and techniques they have discovered.

Conclusion

I found DavkaWriter Platinum to be a phenomenal, rock-solid program that installs quickly. If you've ever used a computer based word processing program, you will have no problems finding your way around DavkaWriter Platinum. You'll also find that many of the commands and keyboard short-cuts are the same as English only word processing programs that you've used. And, if this is your first try at using a computer based word processing program - never fear. This program is very user friendly, and you'll find that you'll become an expert in no time at all. In addition, I found it very easy to copy and paste DavkaWriter Platinum files to other word processing files such as WordPerfect, and vise a versa.

This program is fully customizable, and it is very flexible, offering users a variety of options when it comes to integrating Hebrew and English into the same document. This is in addition to working solely in either English or Hebrew. The program is, however, designed primarily for English speakers who also need a Hebrew word process program, as all menus, help files, font names, and the like are only offered in English.

DavkaWriter Platinum, while outstanding, is not a 'perfect' program. For example you can not create HTML documents with this program - at least not yet. Davka has been continually upgrading the DavkaWriter program since its creation, and they are constantly adding new features, so this 'problem' is likely to be corrected in the near future. Without a doubt, even with some minor flaws, DavkaWriter Platinum is the best Hebrew/English Word processing program that I've ever used!

System Requirements:

PC Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP
32 MB RAM
CD-ROM drive


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